George A. Romero
George A. Romero
Lori Cardille as Sarah
Terry Alexander as John
Joseph Pilato as Captain Rhodes
Jarlath Conroy as William
Richard Liberty as Logan
Sherman Howard as Bub
Oh my. When I read that tagline for the first time my heart started racing, my blood started pumping, and I got an unbelievable urge for some red meat. I also knew that the master, George A. Romero, had returned and I was ready for the last (as far as we knew at the time) installment in the greatest trilogy of horror ever devised.
Day of the Dead starts by making us aware of the fact that the zombies have basically taken over and they outnumber humans 400,000 to 1.
A group of scientists and a group of soldiers are holed up in an underground bunker. The scientists are running tests on zombies to find a cure or an easier way to put them down while the soldiers are getting impatient and wanting to do what soldiers do best; storm the zombies and take their chances.
The tension between the two groups reaches a crescendo when the commanding officer, Captain Rhodes (Joseph Pilato), discovers that the lead scientist, Dr. Logan (Richard Liberty), is no longer trying to find a cure and is instead doing experiments to see whether the zombies can be domesticated. We are then introduced to my favorite zombie to date; Bub, expertly played by Sherman Howard.
Unhappy with the prospect of Zombies as pets, Captain Rhodes and the soldiers decide to take matters into their own hands and start blasting. As expected, all hell breaks loose – zombies overtake the bunker and run loose all over the place and (my favorite words in the english language) carnage and mayhem ensue as Bub and friends dish out a good heapin’ helping of zombie retribution.
Day of the Dead was a flop when it was released 20 years ago. George Romero refused to give in to studio execs that wanted him to film an R-rated movie. Because of Romero’s insistence on an unrated film, his budget was cut from $7 million to $3.5 million. This budget shortfall forced Romero to rewrite the screenplay, and being unrated meant that Day of the Dead would have a very limited cinema release. This doomed Day of the Dead before it got out of the gate, which is a travesty of justice in my opinion.
Day of the Dead saw a return of the genius team of George Romero and Tom Savini (Special FX). Savini has an uncanny ability to know exactly what Romero is looking for and is able to deliver it with minimal funds. The gore is top notch with some of the best zombie effects to hit the big screen. With bodies being ripped open, torn apart, and munched on while moral and social overtones support the story, Day of the Dead is everything that a true “zombie master” would expect from Romero. Romero is, of course, the original “Zombie Master” and Day of the Dead is a required course in the zombie master graduate program.